Fare evasion

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Fare evasion, as distinct from fare avoidance, is the act of travelling on public transport in disregard of the law and/or regulation, having deliberately not purchased the required ticket to travel (having had the chance to do so). It is a problem in many parts of the world, and revenue protection officers operate on many systems. Often ticket barriers, manned or automatic, are in place at stations etc., to ensure only those with valid tickets may access the transport.

Fare evasion and fare fraud is generally a crime in most jurisdictions. The fare not paid, compared to potential penalties and hassle, is generally considered “not worth it”.[1][2]

One method of fare evasion is jumping over the turnstiles which mark the entryway into a subway system; hence the term, “turnstile jumping”. Other methods include adults traveling on children’s tickets, or using discounted tickets or free passes that the passenger is not entitled to. The most extreme method is train surfing.

Another issue occurs on the bus, passengers would either bypass the bus driver or simply enter through the rear door of the bus. This is commonly found under the New York City Bus system which causes its operators to lose millions of dollars a year.[3] In most countries passengers board a bus from any door, validate their tickets at machines and have no contact with the driver thus increasing the potential for fare evasion.

About[edit]

Fare evasion can be a chronic problem in transit systems, especially large systems like New York[1] or Paris. From classic turnstile “vaulting” and “slugs” instead of legitimate tokens to elaborate schemes involving stolen faregate keys, fraudulent electronic fare media, “forgetting” proof-of-payment (POP) receipts, or “two card monte” that takes advantage of fare system features, many ways exist to avoid paying fares. Indeed, industry standard revenue ‘leakage’ is reportedly 3%~6%.[4] Evasion is so rampant in some cities that conversion from POP to turnstiles is being proposed[5] or seriously considered.[6]

In the transit world, fare abuse studies are sometimes shrouded in utmost secrecy and treated like classified information, but it is widely discussed in popular press,[7][8][9][10][11] local television news,[12][13] criminal justice literature,[14][15][16] economics research,[17] and internet blogs;[18] in New York,[7][8][19] New Jersey,[5] Boston,[4][11] Chicago,[12] Atlanta,[13][20] San Francisco,[10][21][22] Los Angeles,[6][9] Seattle,[23] Vancouver,[24] Edmonton,[16][25] London,[15] and Paris.[26] Four agencies (TransLink, King County Metro, Edmonton, New York) made evasion audit findings public, San Francisco (Muni) and Atlanta (MARTA) presented papers, while Toronto addressed evasion in a fare collection study,[27] at least one confidential international benchmarking study was published,[28] and Federal Transit Administration has even requested special studies of non-farebox passengers [19] within the context of National Transit Database ridership reporting.

To understand evasion, it is imperative to first understand interactions between fare control hardware, fare tariff, and passengers. Evasion occurs when passengers gain access from unpaid to paid side by interacting with fare controls in manners inconsistent with tariff. Transit’s tariff is complex, sometimes requiring legitimate revenue passengers to defeat fare controls with behaviors that resemble evasion to casual observers.[citation needed] Additionally, entry procedures are not always strictly followed, though usually no actual revenue losses takes place. There are, therefore, real debates about what constitutes evasion.

Different observation methodologies were used to estimate evasions: staff interviews (Edmonton), operator counts (King County Metro), surveyor counts (New York and San Francisco), and third party audits (TransLink Vancouver).

Countermeasures[edit]

Panic bars[edit]

Panic bars on emergency exit doors, which sound an alarm when the door is opened, are in all stations of the New York City Subway.[29]

Panic bars were also installed on Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston and on Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).[30] This provided an impetus for renewed interests in evasion, because evaders could enter through gates when already opened by exiting passengers.[31]

Closed circuit television[edit]

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) monitoring is used by many public transport companies to combat vandalism and other public order crimes. Using CCTV to apprehend fare-dodgers in the act requires full-time human monitoring of the cameras. Sophisticated CCTV systems discriminate the scenes to detect and segregate suspicious behaviour from numerous screens and to enable automatic alerting. However, the attentiveness of the surveillance personnel may be threatened by false reliance on automatics.

Penalty fare[edit]

Main article: Penalty fare

A penalty fare is a special fare charged at a higher than normal price because the purchaser did not comply with the normal ticket purchasing rules. Typically penalty fares are incurred by passengers failing to purchase a ticket before travelling or by purchasing an incorrect ticket which does not cover their whole journey.

Penalty fares are not fines and are used when no legal basis for prosecuting fare evasion exists, but prosecution is deemed too drastic and costly or is unlikely to result in conviction.

Civil and criminal penalties[edit]

On some systems, fare evasion is considered a misdemeanor. In such cases, police officers and in some cases transit employees are authorized to issue tickets which usually carry a heavy fine. Then, charged persons can then be tried in court. Repeat violators and severe cases, such as ticket forgery, are punished more severely and sometimes involve incarceration. Wealthy offenders face stiffer penalties than poorer offenders.[32]

Evasion fines vary. On Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), evasion fines range from $85 to $235,[33] whereas they “start at $50” on the San Francisco Municipal Railway.[34] In Boston, prior to CharlieCard AFC implementation and conversion of booth clerks to roving agents, MBTA quietly asked Massachusetts State Legislature to make evasions a civil offense [35] punishable by progressive fines ($15 first offense; $100 second; $250 third or subsequent). On Newark City Subway, where POP is in effect, evasion penalty was initially $75, but increased to $100 in 2008.

In the US, the MBTA, CTA,[12] and Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) also use sophisticated camera equipment. The MBTA even apprehended vandals damaging AFC equipment while evading, and published the video footage.[36]

Ticket barriers[edit]

Main article: Ticket barrier
High Entrance Turnstiles in Madrid.

Turnstiles are used to obstruct invalid access. Since most fare-dodgers know how to pass a gate without paying, turnstiles may be replaced with ticket barriers in a less easily transversed form, or may be integrated more closely with an electronic ticket system.

Ticket barriers can also require the travellers to show their tickets upon exiting.

Ticket inspectors[edit]

With manual fare collection, fare evasion can become more difficult and stigmatizing for the fare-dodging traveller. Ticket inspectors may or may not be allowed to use force to prevent or apprehend fare-dodgers.

Uniformed guards[edit]

The presence of uniformed guards can act as a deterrent to fare evasion. Guards may or may not be allowed to use force to prevent or apprehend fare-dodgers.

Undercover public transit police officers[edit]

It is sometimes common for police officers dressed in plain clothes to patrol subway stations. As such, they have all the jurisdiction that normal officer have when policing the transit system.

Manual fare collection[edit]

Transit systems which use honor systems under normal circumstances may employ staff to collect fares at times and places where heavy use can be expected - for example, at stations serving a stadium after the conclusion of a major sporting event.


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Measuring and Controlling Subway Fare Evasion - Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board - Volume 2216, Volume 2216 / 2011 - Transportation Research Board of the National Academies". Trb.metapress.com. 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  2. ^ Battaglia, J. The MetroCard Project. In 2600 Magazine, Spring Volume, Middle Island, N.Y., 2005. Retrieved from http://sephail.net/articles/metrocard/ on June 23, 2008.
  3. ^ "Millions of fare-beaters take MTA for an $8 million bus ride". Daily News. 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Kahn, Ric. No Fare – the MBTA Says its $203 Million System will Make Freeloaders Pay. In Boston Globe, July 2, 2006.
  5. ^ a b Davis, Tom. Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Loses Millions Each Year. In the North Jersey Record, May 16, 2010. Retrieved from http://www.northjersey.com/news/93873464_Hudson-Bergen_Light_Rail_loses_millions_each_year.html on June 8, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Los Angeles Metro to Test Turnstile-Gate Waters at Four Subway Stations. In Progressive Railroading, August 4, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.progressiverailroading.com/news/article.asp?id=21115 on March 31, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Donohue, Peter. Cheaters Cost MTA Millions – Fare Beaters Underestimated for Years. In New York Daily News, March 16, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Sims, Calvin. Fare Beaters in Subway Pay in the End, in Sweat. In New York Times, February 18, 1991.
  9. ^ a b Doyle, Sue. Metro Fare Evasion a Problem. In Los Angeles Daily News, October 25, 2007. Retrieved from http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_7283244.
  10. ^ a b Gordon, Rachel. MUNI Catching 50 Percent More Fare Evaders. In San Francisco Chronicle, January 7, 2009.
  11. ^ a b Haggerty, Ryan. MBTA Cracks Down, Fines Fare Evaders – says Gate Vandals Caught on Camera. In the Boston Globe, July 26, 2007.
  12. ^ a b c Levine, Jay and E. Marshall. CTA Cheaters: People Ride Free At Brown Line Stop. In CBS2 Chicago Area Local News, 10:39 pm Central, Feb 16, 2010. Retrieved from http://cbs2chicago.com/local/cta.brown.line.2.1499276.html on July 4, 2010.
  13. ^ a b Shaw, Chris. MARTA Jumpers Costing MARTA $3 Million a Year. In My Fox Atlanta, 10:27 pm Eastern, July 12, 2010.
  14. ^ Weidner, Robert R. Target-Hardening at a New York City Subway Station: Decreased Fare Evasion – at What Price? In Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 6, Criminal Justice Press, Monsey, N.Y., 1996.
  15. ^ a b Clarke, Ronald V. Fare Evasion and Automatic Ticket Collection on the London Underground. In Crime Prevention Studies, Vol. 1, Criminal Justice Press, Monsey, N.Y., 1993.
  16. ^ a b Clarke, Ronald V., S. Contre and G. Petrossian. Deterrence and Fare Evasion: Results of a Natural Experiment. In Security Journal, Vol. 23, pp. 5~17, October 19, 2009.
  17. ^ Kooreman, Peter. Fare Evasion as a Result of Expected Utility Maximization – Some Empirical Support. In Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, January, 1993. Retrieved from http://arno.uvt.nl/show.cgi?fid=73709 on October 5, 2010.
  18. ^ Rhodes, Michael. Fare Evasion is Down as Muni Steps Up Collection Effort. In SF.StreetsBlog, May 5, 2010. Retrieved from http://sf.streetsblog.org/2010/05/05/fare-evasionis-down-as-muni-steps-up-collection-effort/ on July 30, 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Algorithm to Measure Daily Bus Passenger Miles Using Electronic Farebox Data for National Transit Database Section 15 Reporting - Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board - Volume 2216, Volume 2216 / 2011 - Transportation Research Board of the National Academies". Trb.metapress.com. 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ Lee, Jason. “Passes and Transfers, Please”: Uncovering Proof-of-Payment Patterns to Reduce Fare Evasion. In Press. TRB Paper #11-1589, Submitted for Publication at the Transportation Research Board 90th Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., January 23–27, 2011.
  22. ^ Rhodes, Michael. Fare Evasion is Down as Muni Steps Up Collection Effort. In SF.StreetsBlog, May 5, 2010. Retrieved from http://sf.streetsblog.org/2010/05/05/fare-evasionis-down-as-muni-steps-up-collection-effort/ on July 30, 2010.
  23. ^ King County Department of Transportation. Report on Fare Evasion on Metro Transit, April 2010. Retrieved from http://metro.kingcounty.gov/am/reports/2010/FareEvasion04-10.pdf on October 5, 2010.
  24. ^ PriceWaterhouseCoopers. TransLink Fare Evasion Internal Audit, September 2007. Retrieved from http://www.llbc.leg.bc.ca/public/pubdocs/bcdocs/443139/bc_080723_fare_evasion_pwc.pdf on October 5, 2010.
  25. ^ Office of the City Auditor, Edmondton. 05148 – ETS Fare Evasion Review, May 10, 2005. Retrieved from http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/CityGov/05148_Fare_Evasion_Final_Report.pdf on October 5, 2010.
  26. ^ Chu, Henry and D. Lauter. Paris Metro’s Cheaters Say Solidarity is the Ticket. In Los Angeles Times, 8:58 pm Central, June 22, 2010.
  27. ^ Toronto Transit Commission. Section 3.3: Fare Evasion. In TTC Fare Collection Study. Retrieved from http://transit.toronto.on.ca/archives/reports/fare.pdf on October 5, 2010.
  28. ^ Dauby, Laurent and Z. Kovacs. Fare Evasion in Light Rail Systems. In Transportation Research E-Circular EC-112: Light Rail Transit: A World of Applications and Opportunities, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, 2007.
  29. ^ Sclafani, Tony. ‘Panic Bar’ Exits OK’d for all Subway Stops. In New York Daily News, June 29, 2006.
  30. ^ Levine, Jay and E. Marshall. CTA Cheaters: People Ride Free At Brown Line Stop. In CBS2 Chicago Area Local News, 10:39 pm Central, Feb 16, 2010. Retrieved from http://cbs2chicago.com/local/cta.brown.line.2.1499276.html on July 4, 2010.
  31. ^ Lysiak, Matt and D. Goldiner. Exit Gates as MTA’s ‘Free’ Way, Farebeaters Use Busy Stops to Advantage. In New York Daily News, April 30, 2009.
  32. ^ Heilbroner, David (1991). "ECAB". Rough justice. New York: Dell. pp. 13–14. ISBN 0-440-21030-5. 
  33. ^ Shaw, Chris. MARTA Jumpers Costing MARTA $3 Million a Year. In My Fox Atlanta, 10:27 pm Eastern, July 12, 2010.
  34. ^ Gordon, Rachel. MUNI Catching 50 Percent More Fare Evaders. In San Francisco Chronicle, January 7, 2009.
  35. ^ Massachusetts General Laws, Title XXII: Corporations, Chapter 159, Section 101. Retrieved from http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/159-101.htm on June 8, 2010.
  36. ^ Haggerty, Ryan. MBTA Cracks Down, Fines Fare Evaders – says Gate Vandals Caught onCamera. In the Boston Globe, July 26, 2007.